A new red food truck rolled onto the food scene in Asheville last month. Although the truck’s punny name is Bun Intended, the fresh-made, authentic Thai food and steamed buns it offers are no joke.
Owner Erica Glaubitz describes her menu as a mix of traditional Thai cuisine and street food — the kind of snacks you would find in any market in Thailand. One of her signature offerings is salapao, a closed steamed bun stuffed with braised pork loin that is flavorful but not overly spicy. “It’s one of those things that I really wanted to start with,” says Glaubitz.
She also offers a fried green-curry spring roll, a concept that presents a dish that is traditionally served in a bowl with rice as a handheld, easy-to-eat item. “I thought, ‘Let’s throw it in a spring roll and see what happens,'” says Glaubitz.
The pork for the salapao is sourced from Sugar Creek Meats in Sandy Mush. “We’ve had great response to our pork. It’s important to know where your food comes from,” she says. “I visit the farm often and play with the pigs. They’re not stressed; these have been well-raised animals that were ethically treated. I think that comes across in the flavor.” Glaubitz plans to expand her list of local sources as much as possible.
Glaubitz, who is a pastry chef, also offers unique desserts. “Most Thai desserts are gelatin or fruit-based — that’s difficult to offer on a truck,” she says. “Instead, I’m doing a Thai chocolate with chocolate, ginger, kaffir limes, some peppers — they’re so good. I just like to play with everything.”
Glaubitz, who moved from her native Louisiana to Asheville with her sons six years ago, is half Thai. Her German-American father and Thai mother met in Thailand, then together moved to Louisiana, where her mom opened a Thai restaurant when Glaubitz was in high school. “That’s where I started working and growing up in restaurants,” she says. “Our menu is made up of the food that I ate growing up that my mom made.”
So far, Bun Intended has been parking regularly at Brahmari Brewhouse downtown 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays for lunch and at West Asheville’s Brew Pump 4-10 p.m. Fridays. “We’ve been very busy,” says Glaubitz. “This is our third Friday at the Brew Pump, and we’ve sold out every Friday so far.”
Bun Intended is available for catering and private events and is working on scheduling more places to set up shop, including offering lunch in company parking lots. “We’re slowly building the locations and the menu,” says Glaubitz. “It’s definitely a balance.”
And that balance, she says, is what she likes best about Thai food. “You don’t just throw a bunch of peppers in there and fish sauce and say, ‘OK, it’s Thai.’ No, you need kaffir lime and lemongrass, ginger, Thai basil and all these other little things. Each dish has its own nuance. I love it; it’s fun.”
For details on Bun Intended and its schedule, visit bunintendedavl.com. There is a function on the site for suggesting possible locations and scheduling events.